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Tips for Buying EarthBound

June 27th, 2012 | EarthBound, Images

The other day I posted an old Best Buy ad that showed EarthBound on sale for $29.99. Today, a fellow by the name of Mother_fan sent me this:


I check your website frequently and I’m happy to see people so enthusiastic about one of my favourite game series. I knew I had to dig out this flier when I read yesterday’s post about Earthbound advertised in a Best Buy flier. This is from a 15 page Consumers Distributing flier booklet – it’s titled: “Ultimate 1996 Video Catalogue” but it must have been issued in the summer of 1995 because it lists games “Coming soon! Mid Aug. ’95”. Let me know if you want any more of it scanned. : D

Here, we see that the game is being sold for $89.98 rather than the MSRP of $69.95.

I really don’t know what it was, but for like a 2 or 3 year period in the mid 1990s, SNES games (maybe all games?) were suddenly a lot more expensive than usual. I remember plunking down like $80 or $90 for Mortal Kombat II, Final Fantasy III, and some other SNES games right around this time, so it’s no surprise to me that EarthBound is in that same range. I thought I heard someone say it was due to a temporary spike in manufacturing costs, but I’ve never been able to find out any details. Does anyone know? Did a chip-manufacturing plant blow up or something? Was it something to do with exchange rates? I really want to know, it’s always been a mystery to me.

I tell you, though, had I not had the special EarthBound coupon for $15 off, I probably wouldn’t have been able to get the game when it came out. Plus I don’t think a lot of people would buy a game on a whim (especially a brand new IP) for $90 😯

Anyway, if anyone else has old ads from back in the day that feature EarthBound, let me know!


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23 Comments to EarthBound in Another Old Ad

Poe said on Jun. 27, 2012

Whooaa! Those prices are nuts. I wouldn’t dare spend $90 on even a collector’s edition for an HD game today!

Thanks for sharing this ad, Mother_fan!

Mato said on Jun. 27, 2012

Incidentally, $89.98 in 1995 is worth about $127.45 nowadays.

ninten said on Jun. 27, 2012

This one of the reasons why EB failed in the U.S. high prices in a gnere that is starting to become popular.

Poe said on Jun. 27, 2012

Wow. Maybe these crazy high prices of brand-new SNES games is the reason why my mom bought all our games used from a pawn shop, lol.

Carl said on Jun. 27, 2012

I distinctly remember that period in the latter half of the ’90s when video games got insanely expensive. I don’t remember the prices being quite as bad as in this ad, though.

Chris said on Jun. 27, 2012

I remember that too. I bought Earthbound used at Blockbuster after renting it so often, same w/ Mana and probably something else… Around the time Chrono Trigger came out it was $80 and my family refused to buy it for me. So somehow I bought it for myself (no clue why I had that amount of cash, I think it was summer time).

MightyYT said on Jun. 27, 2012

Whoa, what is up with that Illusion of Gaia box art?

angryrider said on Jun. 27, 2012

Those prices are nuts, but I do find it sad that people TODAY are complaining that games cost $60. It is also a damn shame that even though we have lots of stuff to buy, our spending power is pretty weak compared to the consumers of 20 years ago.

I only paid $30 for DKC2 in 1999, sheesh. It’s sad that I didn’t know about Earthbound until the past 10 years, shortly after I read video game magazines more seriously.

Carl said on Jun. 27, 2012

Yeah, once you account for inflation, games have actually come down in price a lot compared to 15 years ago. As Tomato pointed out, a premium title cost about twice then what it does now, adjusted for inflation.

octoG123 said on Jun. 27, 2012

$90 for something that should cost $35? *Goes into a corner and crys*

Zinco said on Jun. 27, 2012

Yes, I remember those days, although I don’t remember much creeping above $75—usually the games in that neighborhood were from Squaresoft. I figured that it was because they didn’t make as many of the games owing to the more limited RPG fanbase in America, but if other games were priced that high then I could be mistaken.

The games I (or my parents) paid $75 for were all totally worth it, though.

Jason said on Jun. 27, 2012

Holy smokes!

Especially since a lot of those games are really short casual games. Based on my age/recollections I would have been getting some of those games during that time. I hope my mom got a good deal and didn’t spend that much money on something like Donkey Kong! I feel guilty! lol

And how about $80 (~125 w/inflation) for Tetris!! Thankfully I didn’t have Tetris on the SNES although I did have it on the gameboy, I wonder how much it cost.

SamWibatt said on Jun. 27, 2012

I had thought this price spike might be because of the Sumitomo Factory fire – but that was in 1993: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EKF/is_n1971_v39/ai_14145152/

Maybe something similar happened? Or there may just have been a case of galloping greed.

tintinophile691 said on Jun. 27, 2012

A lot of the box art seems different to what was actually released.

kal said on Jun. 27, 2012

I would still pay 70 dollars for Uniracers!

Mato said on Jun. 27, 2012

SamWibatt: Actually, that might be what I was thinking of too, I just didn’t know what the name was. The article said it’d take at least a year for the new factory to be built, so it’s very possible it’s a big reason for the price jump. I’m sure greediness played a factor too, it just seems weird that during the big Sega/Nintendo rivalry they’d think such prices were acceptable.

SamWibatt said on Jun. 28, 2012

@Mato – that is really strange, isn’t it. I thought of the Sumitomo fire because it happened right around the time I was thinking of buying some RAM (8 megabytes was a big deal in those days!) and I found the prices had quadrupled overnight. I don’t remember how long the price shock lasted; now that you point out the length of time it took to get a new factory online I think it might have gone on quite a while.

TeamMountainGaming said on Jun. 28, 2012

i LOVE these old ads! Totally brings back super titanic waves of nostalgia – I used to run to the Saturday morning paper just to tear through these leaflets and stare at all the games! Keep the old ads comin : )

KingMike said on Jun. 29, 2012

Really, $90 for EB? Where was this?
I can remember Target not really budging either way from its $64.95 price. Seeing that, wanting it, but my parents weren’t really buy it, particularly as it was around the time my sister’s drug addict friends were stealing my games, probably for drug money. 🙁

Carl said on Jun. 29, 2012

My original copy of Earthbound went missing a few years ago; I’m almost certain it was stolen, and I know by whom. Since only the cartridge was taken, I was able to replace it via eBay at a high but not outrageous price.

Jurassic Parker said on Jul. 2, 2012

I was going to say they looked more like what it costs over in Austrailia, but I’m not sure if they used the same controllers as us over here in the States, or if they used the multicolored ones like in Japan and Europe.

Carl said on Jul. 2, 2012

I’m guessing that 1-800 numbers are an exclusively American thing. And except for the games that use what’s obviously preliminary artwork, those are the American box designs, featuring the U.S. ESRB ratings. So it’s definitely an American ad.

Opinionated said on Jul. 28, 2012

Moreso, EarthBound was an American release.

(Don’t tell me about Japan, that’s Mother 2 :D)


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